Meeco, the Switzerland-based clean energy company, has just developed a new way of making solar panels even kinder to the environment.
Its “sun2rope” project ditches the heavy steel structure usually used to support photovoltaic panels — instead suspending them on a mixture of super-strong, wind resistant ropes and responsibly sourced local wood.
The finished project will be used to power batteries, hot water and e-bikes on Cottar’s 1920 Camp, a 1,500 hectare safari close to the Masai Mara national park in Kenya.
“We are proud to support the Cottar’s 1920 Camp in its endeavour of protecting wildlife and nature by delivering clean, sustainable and innovative renewable energy solutions as a sustainable power source, giving way to a reduced use and new deployment of diesel-based generators,” said Michael Georg, the meeco Group’s Senior Project Manager in a statement.
The Meeco solution goes beyond the commendable green ambitions of similar renewable energy projects, such as the creation of a steel-heavy solar power grid in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. It also comes as other eco-resorts, such as the world-famous Galapagos islands, struggle with the implications of a reliance on diesel generators: a barge carrying 600 gallons of diesel fuel sank in December, damaging one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems.
Sturdy ropes and responsibly-sourced wood hold the solar panels in place
In Cottar’s, seven rows of solar panels are mounted on long-life, “exceptionally resistant” technical ropes, made of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene. The design is intended to resist wind speeds of up to 36 m/2 and reduce costs: steel shipping entails high logistics costs and carbon emissions.
The development is a boon for Cottar’s, which has a mission to protect nature and wildlife and preserve the original culture and lifestyle of the nearby Maasai tribe. The home of lions, savanna and giraffes been a destination for a litany of famous faces, including the UK’s Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, director George Lucas, and actress Kiera Knightley.